Gaming in the Gaps!

March 2, 2013 by warzan

With the weekender postponed for a week, I thought I might take the opportunity to share something with you guys…

Gaming in the Gaps

I may be a special/unusual case… I’m willing to accept that, but my time with Beasts of War leads me to think that one or two of you out there are going to resonate with today’s riff.

For as long as I can remember when playing a game, I’ve always looked to ways to customise it, as years have went by I’ve come to understand the reason for this… it’s NOT about changing a game to suit my tastes although I could use that as an excuse… no the reality is something just a little bit darker and more selfish than that.

I want to own a piece of the game, I want to fully control some aspect of it, to satisfy me that the time and effort I’m spending on it is worth it, and that I’m not completely at the mercy of someone else’s whims and desires.

Hello, My Name is Warren … And I’m A Gaming Control Freak…

Yup it’s time to accept it because I’ve pretty much reached the age now that it ain’t gonna change. So I’m going to declare openly (if not proudly) that I’m drawn to gaming in the gaps.

Gaming in the gaps, makes me feel like I own a little bit of the game I’m investing myself in, for me it’s about finding the gaps in the narrative where I can build a little world within the world, somewhere stable that I feel I can invest my time in there without suffering the whims of the game developers or writer.

I’m not alone, please tell me I’m not alone!

Warhammer 40K allowed for this very well, the designers effectively built a narrative that was too big to break, this was primarily to allow them (in the studio) almost unlimited freedom, but a massive side effect of that was it allowed us as gamers to create and control gaps in the narrative where we created our own factions etc that interact with the world, but don’t get stomped over by the writers and game developers.

I built a Space Marine chapter called ‘The Sons of Aeon‘ in the following Gap: [Seeing that little blog again has given me a bit of an urge to return to it!]

1) They were a chapter that was secretly created just as the Heresy was in the end Game – Gave them a certain legitimacy and opened up heresy period gaming for me.

2) They are a chapter that actually carried multiple Gene Seed (to try and overcome mutations perhaps) – This was just a justification to let me try out different codexes.

3) They were directly equiped by the Adeptus Mechanicus – Letting me experiment with scratch building stuff.

4) They had their own support attachment of Imperial Guard (with Titans etc) – Although the game now supports this awesomeness out of the box with the Allies Rule.

5) Were sent to the outer reaches of the galaxy to seek out new territories – Didn’t get caught up in the main plot lines too much.

So why even go to the bother of concocting this story in the gap where I can game… I can only put it down to a personality trait (flaw?) where I just like to have some control over my hobby. I suppose I’m uncomfortable placing my past time solely in the (very capable I’m sure) hands of the game developer.

Am I missing out?

I do wonder these days whether I’m missing out on a whole aspect of fun in my gaming because of my reluctance to be at the mercy of game developers. I have enjoyed many video games where I’ve had no control over the narrative (although I admit I enjoyed the games where I did even more!)

So the question is, should I be prepared to place my trust in the game developers and try to buy into their vision exclusively? And will my hobby be any more or less rewarding as a result?

Are you a game developer reading this, what do you feel about your gamers living and gaming in the gaps of your narrative and potentially missing out on the ‘bigger picture’?

How my desire for gaming in the gaps has manifested itself in other games too:

I’m opting towards a Captain Nemo and Nautilus crew type faction, the developers of carnevale have ‘the rift’ which is a great device for overcoming time period anomalies etc.

I’m a new player but already considering my own Corporation, or special ops unit within a corporation. There is alot of scope for narrative in this game, and the mechanics are simple enough to even introduce soldiers, equipment and vehicles etc of your own.

Flames of War
Yup even Flames of War hasn’t escaped my desire to Game in the Gaps (and I’m intending to be quite brutal with it) – but more on that later…

However there are games where I have not spotted the gaps … yet…

I have until recently struggled to find the gaps in Warmachine as everything seemed so tightly constructed. however @stuart has nudged to to change my approach here and look at the warcasters as the starting point. But it is hard when every character is named and perhaps even the fact that there are no ‘options’ in Warmachine (everything is on the stat card) could possibly be a bit of a barrier there?

Fellow Control Freaks… How do you Game in the Gap? I really really want to know!

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